Two fifths of service personnel in South Yorkshire are living in the lowest grade of service accommodation, shocking figures have revealed.
Ministry of Defence data uncovered by John Healey shows that 180 personnel in South Yorkshire live in Grade 4 Single Living Accommodation, the lowest rating given by the Ministry of Defence.
Across the country, almost 39,000 members of the armed forces live in Grade 4 accommodation. A further 4,360 personnel live in accommodation so poor that no rental charge is levied. Just 21% live in the top ‘Grade 1’ accommodation, the lowest proportion since 2018.
Wentworth and Dearne MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, John Healey, said: “Conservative Ministers are failing in their duty to our forces, who are living in shameful conditions while serving our country. Our armed forces personnel and their families deserve better than having to put up with broken boilers, water pouring into homes, mould, vermin and endless waits for basic repairs.
“Armed forces personnel and their families should be able to rely on having a decent home as part of their service of contract – the next Labour government will deliver the homes fit for heroes our forces deserve.”
The Ministry of Defence awards grades to its Single Living Accommodation based on ‘deficiency points’ allocated across 14 categories. Points are apportioned for the condition of bedroom decoration, fixtures and fittings, adequacy of heating systems and the proximity of toilet and washing facilities, among other factors.
There is currently no minimum quality standard set for Single Living Accommodation and no minimum acceptable conditions that service personnel should expect. A 2021 National Audit Office report on Single Living Accommodation exposed ‘decades of underinvestment’ and ‘problems with heating and hot water.’
The Labour Party has commissioned an independent review of defence accommodation, chaired by crossbench peer and former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Bob Kerslake. The commission will bring together experts from fields including health, housing and the armed forces.
Labour’s dossier on service accommodation will be submitted as evidence to the independent Kerslake Review on the state of armed forces housing. The findings of the review will inform Labour’s offer on improving the lives of serving personnel after the next election.
Labour’s Homes Fit for Heroes campaign is compiling evidence on the state of military accommodation which will be submitted as evidence to review.
Personnel and their families can submit their views at https://labour.org.uk/homesfitforheroes/